Keeping Busy

Some tips on mental health and maintaining a sense of purpose

  • Create a daily routine – this helps to give structure and purpose to your day. Try to have a good mix of work (be it housework or paid work), rest and leisure activities.
  • What activities do you usually do? If they’re important to you, have a think about why they are important and see if you can adapt the activity so you can do it at home – eg.  If you can’t meet your friend for coffee, can you give them a call instead?
  • Create a ‘to do’ list.  Nothing gives a sense of achievement quite like ticking everything off.
  • Identify what might cause you to feel low and look for ways to manage this.
  • Keep up-to-date with government guidelines and advice through the media (choose trusted sources), but don’t spend too much time watching rolling news – it can be counterproductive.
  • Meditation apps Calm & Headspace have released some free content to help with anxiety or worry.

Ideas of what can fill your time: practical

  • Try having a clear out. You could sort through your possessions and put them away tidily, or have a spring clean. You could set any old possessions aside to donate to a cause you care about, or use online selling sites to pass on things you don’t want to keep. If you do sell anything online, you might want to delay your delivery dates until you can leave the house to send your parcels. How about going through your CD/record collection – I bet there are some forgotten treasures!
  • You could also have a digital clear out. Delete any old files and apps you don’t use, upgrade your software or clear out your inboxes.
  • Do any admin tasks that you haven’t got around to, for example changing your energy provider, updating your address book, filing/clearing out bills or paperwork.

Ideas of what can fill your time: leisure

  • Write letters or emails, or make phone calls with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
  • Get creative – write a journal, pick up knitting or crochet. There’s free online tutorials if you’re rusty, here’s one on hand embroidery for beginners.
  • Have a go at drawing, here’s a link to get you started: learn to draw.
  • Do some DIY: WikiHow has online instructions you can trust.
  • Spring is a great time to go for a walk. Stop and look around you to notice buds on the trees and spring time flowers.
  • Write your novel. The University of Bristol are running creative writing courses online. Please note, this is a course you will need to pay for.

  • If you live with others, you could play board games or cards.
  • Singing or playing an instrument always raises the spirits. Have a guitar? Instrument manufacturer Fender has made its online guitar courses free for three months for the first 100,000 sign ups.
  • Keep your brain busy: do crosswords (here are some online ones) jigsaw puzzles, or listen to talk radio/podcasts.
  • On the subject of books, did you know you can access free audio and e-books via the Borrow Box app?
  • Do you have any box sets of TV programmes or films you could re-watch? Spend some time enjoying them guilt-free! BBC iPlayer has recently added some new content. Some classic movies which are out of copyright can be found on YouTube in their entirety.
  • Opera fans can still enjoy their favourites: The Royal Opera House is offering free broadcasts on its Facebook and YouTube channels.
  • Create a ‘Playlist for Life’. A Playlist for Life is a collection of songs that represent your life and experiences. You can put one together using this handy guide.

Thanks to Mind, St John’s Foundation & Money Saving Expert for info.